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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars


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on 20 November 2012
The book takes the reader behind the tweets, blog and headlines caused by a council's attempts to silence a child, which led to international outrage. It shows a gentle family trying to live an ordinary life under extraordinary circumstances - which they never set out to create.
Readers of the blog will recognise the familiar blunt writing style of 9 year old Martha in the extracts from her blog which tell her side of the story.
But they'll be pleasantly surprised by Dad David's more fluid and descriptive style as he outlines behind the-scenes dilemmas and anxieties which aren't reflected in Martha's posts. I wonder if Martha was even aware of the sleep her parents lost as the world's media came calling?
There's no ego on these pages - no trace of stage school kid or pushy parents. Just a genuine desire to make the best out of a surprising situation and fulfil a promise made to a farmer who'd helped the family - that in return they'd 'help someone else'.
The book demonstrates the balancing act Martha's parents faced - trying maintain normal life in a small Scottish town while struggling with the worst of local government and the mysteries of the media.
And it's not just for parents. Anyone with an interest in management, social media, PR or crisis prevention will recognise the bungling decisions made by Argyll and Bute Council as a case study in 'how not to do it'. The ongoing persecution of a 9 year old by the institution which should, by law, be protecting her, is jaw-dropping. The revelations made in this book of just how badly they behaved are truly shocking.
If children in Malawi are the winners in this tale then it's the council that's the loser. Well done Martha.
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on 14 January 2013
Like many people, I heard about Martha and NeverSeconds in the context of the council's ill-fated attempt to stifle the blog. It was an extraordinary story at the time, and no less extraordinary months later.

This is a fairly brief, but quite detailed telling of the tale from Martha and her father. Obviously they aren't going to be totally objective, but I think they do a pretty good job.

Leaving aside the issue of who said what, when, and to whom, the full story is just incredible and is a testament to the clear talent of this wonderful young girl and her family. We could do with a few more Marthas in the world, and hopefully this might inspire a few to emerge.

I can't recommend this book enough. Uplifting and thoroughly inspiring.
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on 3 December 2012
What an incredible little girl from an incredible family.
And it shows how ridiculous some local authority employees can sometimes be.
What an inspiration and really shows the things that can be done if you try hard enough.
Highlights Mary's Meals
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on 18 December 2012
A book giving the background to Martha's blog, right from the beginning. It includes information from her father that fills the links behind the blog. Best if you have read at least some of the blog, so you understand what it is all about!
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on 2 January 2013
A genuine, thought-provoking read, Neverseconds follows the story of a 9 year old girl who wanted to make a difference. Prepared to defy all odds, this is the heart warming account from her father as their family is faced with overwhelming publicity as a response to a primary school pupil's desire to become a journalist in her attempt to document the truth about her school lunches. A brilliant read, not because it is well written, but because of the familial love and affection that has brought this book together.
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on 20 November 2012
I ordered this from Amazon as soon as its publication was announced. So -1 star to Amazon for not having my copies to me on launch day. I ended up buying a Kindle copy as well. I have followed NeverSeconds since Martha gained national attention courtesy of Argyll & Bute Council. This book further unfolds the extraordinary drama which has taken place in the last 9 months or so and helps you realise what an "ordinary/extraordinary" girl Martha is - and her whole family too. With the interweaving between Martha and Dave, her Dad we are taken deeper into the 'behind the scenes' happenings. I couldn't put it down! My complaint - too short! I was so disappointed when I had finished it. Well written by both authors! Martha deserves a quiet life for now, but whatever happens in her life has a solid foundation.
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on 13 January 2013
Having read the Never Seconds blog and followed Martha's incredible story I bought the book to support the excellent cause of Mary's Meals - I was in for a surprise. The book has so much more to add and is a most enjoyable and interesting read. I was impressed by the way Martha's family steered her through the minefield of the media frenzie and shielded her from its worst excesses.
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on 1 December 2012
I had pre-ordered this book prior to it's being published, and was looking forward to seeing the actual book.

I was expecting something more along the lines of a short-story, written in rather large type-font. When it arrived and I took it out of the mailer, I realized I was going to need to find my reading glasses. Winter is starting to settle in around us here in the American middle-west, so I decided to take the book and a cup of hot tea into the bedroom and snuggle in for a good, long, read.

I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting, with about one 2 minute break while I wandered out to the kitchen to get an apple. And I couldn't help seeing the irony in my apple-wandering to my well-stocked kitchen, as I read about children whose main (and sometimes only) source of food was the mug of porridge they received at school.

It's definitely a book to make you think. I question whether the full impact of the book has even really hit me yet, but here are a few thoughts:

* I'm stunned that, at least up to the point of publication of the book, the Argyle & Bute council have STILL not extended anything even resembling an apology to Martha and/or the Payne family.

* I had not realized that the bullying had reached the extent it had. While Dave is always very careful to remind readers that Martha always had the support of her school behind her, I was more than a bit dismayed to find that the school allowed the bullying to continue as long and as badly as it did.

* How easy it might be to criticize and find fault with Dave and Rebecca's parenting. How much more difficult it would be to find yourself in a similar situation. Although Dave does mention a few things that he now perhaps regrets or wishes he'd done differently, what an extraordinary extended family to have gotten through this with all their children's psyche's relatively intact!

* Although the book lists both Martha and Dave as authors, and I've no reason to believe that Martha wasn't consulted in the writing of it, I think this is actually Dave's story. (Where in the world he found time to keep up with a small-holding while all of this has been going on, and then write a book about it, is a mystery to me!) Martha is truly a talented writer in her own right and I'm hopeful that -- at some point in a few years when she's ready -- Martha will publish her own story.

Buy this book for two reasons:

1) It's the truly amazing story of how one 9-year old girl changed the world.

2) Every copy sold feeds 25 children who, otherwise, would go hungry.
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on 23 November 2012
I ordered two copies, one for me and one for a friend as a gift. I've only read about 20 pages of the book so far, but it seems to be pretty good and in any case I knew what to expect as I have been reading the 'blog' for quite a few months. Martha seems to be a very unaffected young lady with a good heart.
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on 19 December 2012
Once you start reading this book you can't put it down. The writing is excellent, and the story is inspiring.
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